Ken Downing

From a wealthy brickmaking family from Chesterton in Staffordshire, Downing never had to worry too much about money as the family controlled extensive manufacturing, transport and garage interests. In time he was also a member of the Lloyds insurance market in London.

Born in the middle of World War I, Downing started racing after World War II when he was 21 years of age, his first event being the Eastbourne Rally which he contested in his Healey. He also took part in the inaugural race meeting at Goodwood. In the late 1940s he became a regular on the British national scene with the Brooke Special and later with a Connaught sports car, with which he scored many victories in 1951.

In 1952 he switched to single seaters with a Connaught A-Type and began to show well, winning the Madgwick Cup at Goodwood and coming close to victory at Chimay. That year he took part in a couple of Grands Prix, finishing ninth on his debut at Silverstone, after running fourth but then spinning to avoid a backmarker. He retired from his only other World Championship event in Holland.

In 1953 he decided to switch to an Aston Martin DB3 but decided soon afterwards that he had had enough of racing and retired from the sport. He later emigrated to South Africa but ended up living in Monaco where he died in the spring of 2004 at the age of 87. His daughter Ann married Patrick McNally, the Formula 1 journalist who later became head of the Allsport Management company which oversees corporate hospitality and circuit advertising for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.